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Strabismus in Children


  • Strabismus (strah-BIZ-mus) is a childhood condition where one eye is weaker than the other eye. It appears as if each eye is looking in a different direction. It is also called squint, walleye, or crossed-eyes. Your child may be born with the condition or have it as he is growing up. It appears early in childhood and can last until adulthood if not treated as soon as possible. You may notice your child looking at you with one eye closed or his head turned to the side. He may have frequent headaches, eyestrains, or eye discomfort.
    Picture of a normal eye
  • Your caregiver may notice the condition as he looks at your child. Tests to know how well your child's eyes are working may be done. This includes tests to check on the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels of the eyes. Treatment includes the use of corrective glasses or contact lenses, or an eye patch on the stronger eye. Medicines to correct eye problems and treat eye muscles may be given. Surgery to correct problems with the eye muscles may be done if the condition is severe (bad). Having strabismus diagnosed and treated as soon as possible may improve your child's vision and quality of life.



  • Keep a current list of your child's medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list and the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Give vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Ask before you change or stop giving your child his medicines.
  • Miotic agents: These medicines are given to make the pupil (black circle in the middle of the eye) constrict (get small). This may help your child focus on an image better.

Ask for more information about where and when to take your child for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services for your child, ask for information.


You may help your child choose activities which may help him as he grows up. Encourage your child to read more books or draw and color pictures. This may help exercise the muscles of the eyes and have better vision. Ask your caregivers for information that may help your child with his daily activities.

Healthy diet:

Offer your child healthy food from all of the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads, dairy products, meats and fish. Eating healthy foods may help your child feel better and have more energy. Foods such as sweet potatoes, apricots and carrots are rich in nutrients good for the eyes. Ask your caregiver for more information on the foods that may help improve your child's vision.

For more information:

Contact the following:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
    San Francisco , CA 941207424
    Phone: 1- 415 - 5618500
    Web Address:
  • Prevent Blindness America
    211 W. Wacker Dr, Ste 1700
    Chicago , IL 60606
    Phone: 1- 800 - 331-2020
    Web Address:


  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has blurring of vision or cannot see very well.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition, medicine, or care.


  • Your child cannot see anything from the affected eye.
  • Your child has very severe (bad) headache, dizziness, or vomiting (throwing up).
  • Your child's skin becomes red, swollen or itchy.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Strabismus in Children (Discharge Care)

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